Have you ever come home late for curfew? (Who me? Never!) Have you ever brought home a guy your parents didn’t approve of? (Again, moi? No!) You know that sick feeling you get when you know you’ve done something wrong? Or worse yet, that look on your dad’s face when you know that he knows that you REALLY messed up? I’ve always found that I can’t seem to hide my shortcomings and failures from my parents, especially my dad - he’s sneaky like that. Like the time I was speeding, hit a patch of dirt, and spun into a field barely missing a giant pole. Just when I thought I’d gotten away with my little death defying secret, my dad noticed the grass and mud plastered on the inside of my wheel well later that day. I attempted to lie, but that didn’t go as planned either. Busted. Lucky for me, my dad was quick to forgive.
Pope Francis reminds us that
“Jesus Christ reveals the face of the Father’s mercy.”
Even when we don’t deserve it, we can still find forgiveness through the Father. Just as my dad forgave me for my crazy actions, God forgives us, too. If Jesus is a true reflection of God (which He is) we can see time and again where Jesus extended mercy to those who didn’t deserve it. Jesus was merciful and forgave prostitutes and tax collectors. He healed lepers! Just as God, through Jesus, has forgiven the sinners and the lepers, you too can experience that type of forgiveness from the Father.
I also want to reflect upon God sending Jesus into the world as an infant. God had the power to send Jesus down as a mighty king. He could have been the leader of an expansive army and dominated the lands. Instead, He was sent to us as a helpless baby. To me, that says a lot about God as a father. God shows that he is nurturing, kind and tender by sending Jesus to us as an infant. 2 Corinthians 1:3 backs this up, describing God as the
“Father of compassion and God of all encouragement.”
I mention this because it can be scary fessing up to your sins. I think everyone knows a feeling similar to the one I got when coming home after curfew. I get the same feeling when seeking out the Lord with my sins. I know that He knows what I’ve done before I even say it. Just as I know when my little boy has been naughty while at daycare, God knows when we’ve been “naughty.” However, I still expect my son to tell me just as God expects us to come to Him when we have committed a sin. But God, much like a parent, is tender, compassionate, and most importantly, forgiving.
And what if my dad didn’t forgive me? What if we let resentment and distrust grow between us? Eventually, it would fester and our relationship would be in complete disrepair. It’s important to humble yourself before the Father and ask for forgiveness. It’s certainly not easy to do, but the relationship with the Father will be able to flourish once forgiveness is received.
Reflection: What does it mean to you that God sent a baby into the world and not a man?
Reflection: What are you needing to ask forgiveness for this week?
Act: Think about a relationship you have that is in need of some work. Do you have things that you need to forgive this person for?